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Various logos of UK mobile networks

BT Mobile vs EE: the differences between the two networks in 2019

BT Mobile vs EE

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We look at what's the same and what's different between joining EE directly or going with BT Mobile for 4G coverage, speeds and benefits. Last updated: April 17th 2019.

In our BT Mobile vs EE guide

Network capabilities

Mobile coverage on EE and BT
4G speeds compared
WiFi calling facilities
Free WiFi hotspot access

Compare network features

Extra perks and benefits

Free extra subscriptions
Shared family plans
Roaming

Compare their perks

Products and deals

Special offers
SIM only plan pricing
Phone contracts

Compare their prices

Special offer news

BT Mobile's £75 Reward Card offers

Latest BT Mobile offers

BT Mobile are offering pre-paid Mastercards up to £75 with SIM only deals (order by 19th September).

Or go for a smartphone and you could claim a Reward Card on some of the bigger plans too.

See all BT Mobile Reward Card offers > (opens in new tab)

EE's 20GB for £20 SIM

EE 20GB SIM banner

EE currently have reduced pricing on some of their 12-month plans including:

20GB of 4G data for £20 a month

80GB of 4G data for £25 a month

Unlimited 4G data for £34 a month

See all EE offers > (opens in new tab)

How their mobile networks compare

Same: coverage on BT and EE is identical

They use the same 4G, 3G and 2G networks

Identical coverage on EE and BT Mobile

4G: EE's is the UK's biggest network

EE logo
BT Mobile logo
99%
99%

Joining EE directly or going with BT Mobile gets you access to the same 4G network, which is the biggest in the UK, bringing 4G to 99% of the population.

That stat only relates to coverage in the places people live. Of course, we actually use our phones all over the country. EE have the most landmass covered with 4G of any network.

Use either network's coverage checkers below to see what their signal is like in all the places you plan to use your phone, not just at home.

3G: EE have joint best UK coverage

EE logo
BT Mobile logo
99%
99%

You might think 3G and 2G are old hat but both providers still use it for calls and texts, so it's still important.

They both offer 99% outdoor population coverage. But for good calls when you're away from where people live, use their coverage checkers below for things like your journey to work or in the country.

The frequencies EE/BT Mobile use for 3G aren't the optimum for strong indoor signal but network extras like 4G calling and WiFi calling help make up for this, if your phone supports them.

Use a coverage checker before you join

Check signal at home and other places you'll use your mobile

BT coverage checker

BT Mobile coverage checker

Check BT coverage

using their official map
(opens in new window)

EE coverage checker

Screenshot of EE's coverage checker

Check EE coverage

using their official map
(opens in new window)

Our verdict on coverage:

No difference

"Both EE and BT Mobile use the exact same mobile network for signal, so coverage differences needn't be something to inform your choice between the two."

Compare pricing and deals

Different: 4G speeds on EE and BT Mobile

The top speeds vary depending on the plan you choose

EE's standard maximum 4G speeds are faster than BT's

EE's top speeds vs BT Mobile's

See fastest EE plans

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

On average, we expect customers on EE to get 4G download speeds around the 31 Mbps mark. That's the fastest average speed of all the providers in the UK.

But depending on where you're using your phone, you'll often get speeds above and beyond this too. Look for locations with 4G+ on this map here for the highest speed areas.

Your top possible speed on EE depends on your plan too. Take a pay monthly SIM only deal and your top speed is 60 Mbps. On most phone contracts, it's 60 Mbps too. EE's Max plans offer a maximum of 90 Mbps.

We'd say any 4G download speed above 20 Mbps is going to let you do common tasks on your phone without frustration, including things like streaming HD videos without buffering.

Useful link: Learn about EE's faster 4G+ speeds in their guide.

BT's 4G speeds will be slightly slower on average

BT Mobile logoBT Mobile's top speeds compared to EE

Read full guide

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

The standard top speed you'll get on BT Mobile is 30 Mbps (remember that's the top speed, not the expected speed on average). That's superfast and will support things like HD video streaming too.

Like EE, you can take a more-premium plan on BT Mobile too and that will get you speeds up to 60 Mbps instead. These are available on phone contracts and SIM only (look for ones marked Extra Speed 4G).

If you join on a standard speed plan and feel like you're held back at 30 Mbps (we think it's actually unlikely you will), you can also stil pay a monthly extra charge of £4 to upgrade to the faster 60 Mbps.

If you looked at all BT Mobile customers, we'd expect the average speed to be lower than EE, because no-one's getting the 90 Mbps to bring it up on BT. But we'd be surprised if the average was much below 29 Mbps.

Useful link: Read about Extra Speed add-ons on the official BT Mobile website.

Should you pay more for extra 4G speed?

We look whether it's worth taking a more-premium plan

Make sure higher speeds are available near you

Countryside with 4G logos dotted around

From tests, we'd expect the average 4G speed delivered over the EE network to sit at around 31 Mbps - so barely beyond BT's speed cap anyway.

This is because the faster technology to go beyond this is not yet rolled out in every area across the country.

So before you go for a more expensive higher speed plan with either EE or BT Mobile, we recommend checking the promised speeds are actually currently available where you're going to use your phone.

Below are two quick ways to do this with your preferred provider:

 

BT Extra Speed 4G

BT Mobile Extra Speed 4G locations

Flagged as Extra Speed 4G on mapCheck locations

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

 

EE extra fast 4G

EE faster 4G locations

Look for Double Speed 4GEE / 4G+Check locations

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Our verdict on 4G speeds:

A win for EE

"We'd say the vast majority of customers wouldn't even notice the speed difference between EE and BT Mobile or care. But if you're a super user on a phone contract, EE have faster plans available."

Compare pricing and deals

Similar: WiFi calling

Sometimes you don't have a signal but do have WiFi. That's where WiFi calling steps in.
What differences are there on EE and BT Mobile?

EE have WiFi calling but your phone needs to be supported

EE WiFi calling

Make calls and send texts over WiFiSee supported devices

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Even on the UK's biggest network, you can find yourself somewhere with little or no mobile signal, especially indoors like underground or in a large building.

EE's WiFi calling lets you make and take calls like normal but over WiFi instead of mobile signal.

There's no separate app to download. Instead, your phone needs to have software already installed on it for WiFi calling to work. Most high-spec phones bought direct from EE should already have this.

If you're taking a phone contract from EE, choose one of these phones that support WiFi calling. Or if you're joining on SIM only, check EE's help guide here to make sure your phone is supported.

Useful link: Full information on supported devices in EE's help guide.

BT Mobile now have WiFi calling too

BT Mobile WiFi calling

Make sure your phone's supported thoughSee supported phones

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

WiFi calling used to be one of the main differences between EE and BT Mobile (EE had it, BT didn't) but that changed a while back: you can now use it on BT too.

You'll need a phone that BT Mobile supports and it's preferable to have bought it from them in the first place (because it needs the correct software pre-installed on it to guarantee WiFi calling will work).

At the moment, we're a little concerned that the list of guaranteed supported devices is still quite short if you have an Android phone. iPhones from iPhone 5s and up will work.

But otherwise, WiFi calling is now one less difference you need to think about if you're deciding between EE and BT Mobile.

Useful link: See BT Mobile's new WiFi calling feature

Our verdict on WiFi Calling:

Honours even

"As long as you check in advance that each provider will support your phone, you'll get WiFi with both EE and BT Mobile. Although it doesn't work on EE's pay as you go."

Compare pricing and deals

Different: free access to WiFi hotspots

Do EE or BT Mobile have a better scheme?

BT Mobile give you access to their WiFi network

Free WiFi app on BT Mobile

Get free BT WiFi

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

When you join BT Mobile on a smartphone contract or a SIM only plan, you're automatically entitled to free access to BT WiFi, their network of 5 million free WiFi hotspots in UK (and 13 million abroad).

The kind of locations you can get free WiFi include shopping centres, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, public transport hubs and other places on the high street.

The WiFi is free, unlimited and fast (when you're on the "premium" hotspots at least, which are still free for you). Connecting to it lets you save on your monthly mobile data allowance too.

Download BT's WiFi app and your phone will automatically connect when it's in range of a free hotspot, without you having to manually login yourself each time.

Useful link: Read BT's guide to free BT WiFi

EE only have free WiFi on London Underground

Free WiFi on EE

Free WiFi on Tube

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Compared to what you get on BT Mobile for free WiFi, EE's offering is actually quite restricted.

Instead of free access to 5 million hotspots, you'll get free WiFi on the Underground in London. That's something you don't actually get on BT Mobile.

This is obviously still very handy particularly when you combine it with their WiFi calling feature but not as comprehensive as BT's WiFi offering for everywhere else in the country.

It could also mean you burn through your monthly data more quickly on EE if it's not so easy to offload it onto WiFi when you're out and about (so worth thinking about when choosing the size of your data plan).

Useful link: EE's guide to free London Underground WiFi

Our verdict on free WiFi hotspots:

BT Mobile win

"BT Mobile offer way more free WiFi than EE. If you're cautious about your data usage, this is genuine clear-cut advantage to joining BT over EE."

Compare pricing and deals

Perks and benefits

Different: freebie subscriptions

We look at whether EE or BT Mobile have better free pay monthly extras

EE offer four free entertainment subscriptions on pay monthly

EE streaming services

See included apps

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Join EE on a pay monthly phone contract or 12-month SIM only plan and they'll throw in a free set of streaming subscriptions that have a total combined value of up to £164 (according to EE). So what do you get?

6 months free Amazon Prime Video (TV programmes and films), 6 months free MTV Play (on demand MTV content), 6 months free Apple Music (music streaming) and 3 months free BT Sport app access.

You choose to opt in to each subscription. You don't have to take them. And they do become chargeable to your mobile account once the free period's up. EE say they'll send you an SMS beforehand to check you're happy.

A really valuable part of the offer is that EE won't charge you for the data that these apps would normally use (read our guide to other mobile networks doing this here) during your free trial (but not after).

Useful link: Full details and terms and conditions at EE.co.uk

BT Mobile offer some free BT Sport on your phone

BT Sport banner

How to get it

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Take a phone contract or SIM only deal from BT Mobile with 6GB data or more as standard (e.g. not in a double data 3GB 6GB deal) and you'll automatically qualify for free BT Sport access on your smartphone.

You'll then be able to watch live sport covered on BT Sport channels on your mobile by installing the BT Sport app. You can't cast this content to larger screens or use the sign in on smart televisions either.

The subscription is free and lasts as long as you stay on that particular plan (if you move to one below 6GB, you'll no longer qualify). Unlike EE, this benefit lasts the length of your mobile contract.

Remember though that if you stream content over 4G data rather than WiFi, it will come out of your allowance. There is no free data scheme on BT Mobile.

Useful link: Full guide and terms and conditions at BT.com

Our verdict on free subscriptions:

A win for EE

"Even though EE's freebies are time-limited and are probably aimed at selling you the services in the future, while training you to use more data, their overall value is still higher than anything BT offer."

Compare pricing and deals

Similar: shared family plans on EE and BT

We compare what they offer for taking multiple deals

BT's Family SIMs give you discounts on additional plans

BT Mobile Family SIMs banner

See Family SIM prices

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Even if you're only currently looking for a deal yourself, it's worth knowing about BT Mobile Family SIMs, which let you add extra SIMs to your account at discounted prices.

You either add the SIMs when you first join BT Mobile or you can them on later. And they're on shorter 30-day contracts, so can be dropped easily if you don't need them any more.

The savings range from £2 a month up to approximately £10 per SIM but varies according to plan and current pricing, so can add up pretty quickly to the £40 a month region on the priciest plans.

It's not a faultless scheme. Everyone has to join on the same plan, with the same amount of data, which will be unrealistic for many. But the savings are decent and will be useful for some people.

Useful link: Calculate BT Family SIM savings at BT.com

EE offer 10% discount and data sharing facility

EE data gifting banner

Read how it works

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Add another pay monthly phone contract, SIM only plan or mobile broadband product to your main account with EE and you'll automatically qualify for a flat 10% discount against the new customer price.

That's much easier to understand than BT's Family SIMs, which don't necessarily offer a predictable discount on each plan you add to your main one.

You can also all choose different data plans each on EE and even share chunks of data between other people, if one person's run out and someone else has some spare.

Where we'd say EE's Family plans lack compared to BT is that the starting prices on EE tend to be higher anyway. So even getting a 10% discount could still mean you're overpaying vs BT Mobile.

Useful link: All benefits to EE's family plans

Our verdict on shared plans:

Minor win for BT Mobile

"Even though you can't share data on BT Mobile like you can on EE, BT's discounted SIMs tend to start from a lower price than EE's and are more flexible on 30-day contracts."

Compare pricing and deals

Similar: roaming abroad

Is roaming better on EE or BT Mobile?

Some EE plans include roaming in a few non-EU countries

EE inclusive roaming banner

EE's roaming guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Like all other pay monthly mobile networks in the UK, EE offer inclusive roaming within the EU as standard with all their SIM only plans and phone contracts (see EE's list of covered countries here).

EE will always give you 4G data speeds where they are available in the country you're visiting. This isn't the case with provider's like Three's Go Roam.

The only way you can get any extra worldwide destinations included like the USA is by taking an EE Max plan. These only come with phone contracts, so if you're after more destinations on SIM only, EE can't help.

If you do go anywhere outside of the EU, you're looking at paying per minute, text or MB data at these rates. Or they also operate a system of travel passes in some destinations with a chunk of data for a fixed price.

Useful link: All roaming costs on EE

BT Mobile only really offer inclusive EU roaming

BT Mobile roaming banner

See included countries

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Unlike EE, there are no options on BT Mobile to take a plan that comes with more comprehensive roaming. But you can still go to any of these EU countries without paying extra to use your UK allowances.

If you're visiting Andorra, Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, UAE or USA, BT do offer the option to buy a chunk of 500MB data a day for £6 a day.

That seems pretty steep, especially compared with free roaming schemes like Three's Go Roam. But paying per MB in those countries is even steeper on BT.

Of course, if you rarely go to those places anyway, it's not something to get in your way of joining BT.

Useful link: BT's full guide to all extra costs

Our verdict on inclusive roaming:

Minor win for EE

"For the bulk of customers, there's no real difference between the inclusive roaming destinations on BT Mobile and EE. Only EE Max Plan customers will get extra any non-EU destinations included."

Compare pricing and deals

Comparing pricing, offers and deals

SIM only on EE and BT

How do EE and BT Mobile stack up in terms of monthly costs of their SIM only deals?

BT Mobile's SIM only plans tend to be cheaper than EE

BT Mobile SIM only plans vs EE

Using our tool below to compare EE and BT Mobile's SIM only plans, you'll notice BT's deals are generally cheaper. Even if you don't have BT broadband at home, which gets you an additional £5 monthly discount.

EE tend to get more competitive the bigger data allowance you choose. We've included EE's 1-month Flex SIMs in our comparison but these don't come with all the same pay monthly benefits.

Compare their SIM only plans

Use the filters below to quickly compare the latest SIM plans on EE and BT Mobile

Choose what you want in your deal:

Deal options >
Choose mins, texts and data >
Choose data speed (4G or 5G) >
Choose max contract length >

Close options

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Data

Done

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Any
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Any
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12 months
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Close filters

Choose which networks you'd consider:

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
Plusnet logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo
Showing SIM only deals with at least
 mins |  texts |  data on 4G or 5Gedit search
( possibilities) on any length contract.

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=
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on a -month contract
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on a -month contract
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(opens in new tab)

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£ a month
on a -month contract
Features: Point1 | Point2 | Point3
(opens in new tab)

minutes
+
texts
+
G data
=
£ a month
on a -month contract
Features: Point1 | Point2 | Point3
(opens in new tab)

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Special offers

One of the biggest differences between BT Mobile and EE is the extent of their special offers:

Claim up to £75 Reward Cards with SIMs and phones

Order a qualifying smartphone or SIM by 19th September 2019 and you can claim a pre-paid Mastercard from BT, loaded with up to £75 of money to spend practically anywhere.

On SIM only, you can get a Reward Card worth up to £75, depending on the plan (see full range of SIMs and rewards here). We think their best value plan is this option which lets you claim a £55 Reward Card:

Go for a smartphone and you can also claim a Reward Card on most plans with all the different iPhone and Samsung models available.

Useful link: See latest BT Mobile Reward Card offers in our guide

EE's 20GB for £20 SIM only deal

EE unlimited data banner

See all EE SIM only plans

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Smartphone contracts on EE and BT Mobile

We look at what phones you can get and their pricing to see what's similar and different:

Choose a manufacturer

Which make of phone do you want?

Find a plan for your phone

Choose what you want from your deal

Deal options >
Mins, texts and data >
Data speed (3G or 4G) >
Max contract length >
Max upfront cost >

Close options

Minutes

0+

Texts

0+

Data

0MB+

Done

Maximum contract length

Any
12 months
24 months
Done

Upfront cost

Any upfront cost

Done

Close filters

Choose which networks you'd consider:

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
Sky logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo

EE stock a larger number of phones

EE Carphone Warehouse banner

See EE phone deals

at carphonewarehouse.com
(opens in new window)

EE have a bigger range of phones than BT Mobile, which they offer on the same type of standard 24-month contract (no financing phones with credit agreements or similar).

There are some token early upgrade plans, which we're not particularly keen on as they involve surrendering the phone you've already partially paid for, then giving EE more money for your new phone too.

Unlike BT Mobile, you don't just have to buy phone contracts from EE directly. You might find that you can get a better price through retailers like Carphone Warehouse or their low-cost brand Mobiles.co.uk

If you join EE directly on a phone contract, we'd put them in the mid to upper range for price, and more expensive generally than BT (if you have BT broadband). But you'll tend to find lower upfront costs on EE than BT.

Useful link: Browse EE's full phone range at EE.co.uk

BT Mobile phone contracts usually have Reward Card offers

There's a slightly smaller phone range on BT Mobile but they still have the most-popular Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Google models. All are on regular 24-month deals with no financing arrangements.

Price-wise, they're only really going to be competitive if you have BT's broadband at home, which gets you a £5 monthly discount totalling £120 over the full length of a contract (non-customer pricing is generally unrealistic).

The main appeal of taking a phone with BT Mobile rather than EE is the generous joining offers on BT. You can often claim pre-paid Mastercards with up to £100 on them after your order, which reduces the effective cost.

The upfront costs on BT Mobile can be a little aggressive (sometimes over £200 for top-end models), which could make them unattractive for plenty of people. Use our phone price comparison tool above to compare.

Useful link: Our guide to getting the biggest BT Reward Cards

Our verdict on phone contracts:

Very minor EE win

"If you take a more-expensive EE Max plan you'll get faster 4G than BT, some nice freebie subscriptions and some people will like the annual upgrade scheme. Otherwise, price will be key to choosing between BT and EE on smartphones."

Compare pricing and deals

Don't miss these offers

EE's 20GB for £20 SIM

EE 20GB SIM banner

EE currently have reduced pricing on some of their 12-month plans including:

20GB of 4G data for £20 a month

80GB of 4G data for £25 a month

Unlimited 4G data for £34 a month

See all EE offers > (opens in new tab)

BT Mobile's £75 Reward Card offers

Latest BT Mobile offers

BT Mobile are offering pre-paid Mastercards up to £75 with SIM only deals (order by 19th September).

Or go for a smartphone and you could claim a Reward Card on some of the bigger plans too.

See all BT Mobile Reward Card offers > (opens in new tab)

Other network comparisons

Comparing EE and Three

EE vs Three

Read EE vs Three

Comparing EE and O2

EE vs O2

Read EE vs O2

Comparing EE and Vodafone

EE vs Vodafone

Read our EE vs Vodafone guide

Comparing EE and Virgin Mobile

EE vs Virgin

Read our EE vs Virgin Mobile guide

Comparing BT Mobile and Three

BT Mobile vs Three

Read BT Mobile vs Three

More about EE

Our full review of EE

EE logo

Read EE review

Free Apple Music on EE

Free Apple Music

How to get free Apple Music on EE

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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